Manchester United may still be celebrating their dominant title win but the club's mammoth £200 million wage bill has revealed the true, astronomical cost of regaining the Premier League - and seen them leapfrog neighbours Manchester City as the country's biggest salary spenders.
The Old Trafford outfit have announced a huge 25 per cent leap in wage payments - totalling £44.9m in the third quarter before tax - largely thanks to new signings Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, renegotiated contracts for other squad players and new positions within the club's commercial operation.
|33/1||Robin van Persie is 33/1 with BetVictor to win the Ballon d'Or
The announcement came as the club recorded three-month turnover of £91.7m on the New York stock exchange earlier this week, as well as a 52.2% increase in sponsorship revenue following a number of high-profile commercial deals in the Far East.
The vast salaries at the club are best typified by the £250k-a-week deals currently paid to Van Persie and Wayne Rooney, making the forward pair Britain's top-earning footballers, with their deals alone costing United £24m per year.
The Premier League champions are wary of controlling their growing wage costs and are set to reduce their top-line spending by offering Wayne Rooney a reduced deal this summer, as Goal.com exclusively revealed on Thursday.
City's last annual financial results, released in January, showed that the Etihad Stadium outfit had paid £174m in the previous year, totalling £201m after tax. However, The Sweeper understands that the second-placed Premier League side are actively looking to cut their salary expenditure, with the departures of Nigel de Jong, Emmanuel Adebayor and Mario Balotelli all contributing to the club's wage restructure.
- Paul Clennam
MOYES LEANING TOWARDS EXTENDING EVERTON REIGN
David Moyes has said that he will wait to see how Everton's season ends before he commits himself to negotiations about extending his contract.
But The Sweeper understands that the Scot is leaning towards staying at Goodison Park, regardless of how the Merseysiders finish the campaign.
Moyes has already begun formalising summer transfer targets and is believed to be making long-term plans about the club's coaching set-up.
Some view this as indicative of Moyes's professionalism and thoroughness but friends are confident that he now wants to extend a reign that began 11 years ago.
Publicly, Moyes, whose contract expires at the end of June, is saying that he is yet to make his mind up about his future and Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has admitted that the uncertainty over their manager has left the club in a difficult position.
"[Moyes] has made a simple statement: 'Give me to the end of the season'. He knows in making that statement it is not the easiest one for the football club and he's acknowledged that to me," Kenwright stated.
Goal.com revealed in April that Everton are keeping tabs on Porto manager Vitor Pereira as a fall-back option, along with long-time target Roberto Martinez.
- Wayne Veysey
GARCIA SCOUTING REPORTS "WERE NOT PARTICULARLY GLOWING"
Manchester City fans watching Javi Martinez dominate the midfield alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger during Bayern Munich's Champions League annihilation of Barcelona could be forgiven for feeling a pang of envy.
City's pursuit of Martinez last summer has been well publicised, although less well known is how far down the club's defensive midfield target list had been eventual signing Javi Garcia.
A senior figure involved in City's recruitment last year said that Martinez had been the clear No.1 target for the anchor-man role, followed by second choice Daniele De Rossi of Roma, with Garcia a distant third.
"Javi Garcia was never on the radar, ever," the source told The Sweeper. "The scouting reports were not particularly glowing."
The Spaniard's disappointing debut campaign at the Etihad Stadium is not a surprise for some at the club, even though a hefty £18m was spent on recruiting him from Benfica.
- Wayne Veysey